I use a power ranking model to determine an edge. Now that we are deeper into the season, advanced stats can be insightful in breaking down the game to find mismatches.
UCF vs. Tulsa (+17, 69.5) Nov 8, 7 p.m. EST
If I told you before the season that four AAC teams are slotted in the first college playoffs ranking and UCF was not one of them. Would you have believed me? UCF has extra motivation to beat up on a weak Tulsa squad.
UCF will dictate the tempo on both sides of the ball. This will be the best defense Tulsa has faced thus far. UCF is holding opponents to 4.5 yards per play, 13th in the country. Tulsa is bound to have plenty of negative plays. They have surrendered 77 tackles for loss, 123rd overall, while UCF has generated 90, best in the nation. Expect the Knights to be in the backfield frequently on Friday night.
Tulsa has let their opponents find the end zone too often this season. The Golden Hurricanes are allowing 33 points per game. That is not a sign for success against the Knights. The Knights are capitalizing on their scoring chances, especially against weaker defenses. They are scoring a touchdown on almost 44 percent of their plays leading to 44 points per game.
|UCF Offensive Touchdown Rate||Tulsa Defensive Touchdown Rate|
|43.9% – 6th Overall||32.1% – 89th Overall|
The Pick: UCF -17 (-105). My model has UCF as 20.5 point favorites.
Baylor vs. TCU (-2.5, 48) Nov 9, 12 p.m. EST
Matt Rhule and the Baylor offense will need to perform at a higher level than last week against WVU. TCU has the skillset to take advantage if the Bears stumble again. However, Max Duggan is banged up and “should play” according to Gary Patterson. The depth chart behind him is not fruitful, so if he is unable to play or forced to leave early, Baylor could run away with this game.
Baylor can bring the heat and the Horned Frogs have been susceptible to allowing pressure. The Bears are averaging 3.3 sacks per game. They have been lethal when the opposing team is in passing down situations, sacking them on 8 percent of those plays (Standard Down Sack Rate). Factor in the finger injury, TCU needs to keep the pocket clean. Additionally, Duggan’s accuracy needs to be on point. Baylor has 43 passes deflected on the season, which ranks 30th overall.
|Baylor Defensive Standard Down Sack Rate||TCU Offensive Standard Down Sack Rate|
|8.1% – 16th Overall||6.6% – 77th Overall|
The Pick: Baylor -2 (-115). Bought the half point.
Stanford vs. Colorado (3, 55.5) Nov 9, 3:00 p.m. EST
These defenses are not good and that states it lightly. Each is allowing more than 6 yards per play. Simply, they cannot get their opponents off the field by any means other than surrendering points. Teams are gaining more than 50 percent of the available yards possible on each drive (Yards Allowed). These trends will not change this week.
K.J. Costello returned under center in their previous game and completed over 70 percent of his attempts with 3 touchdowns. He should remain in a groove against a weaker defense. The Buffs are the second worst team in the nation at defending the pass. Steven Montez is happy to be back home in Boulder where he is 30 points more efficient at home than when on the road. Add on Shenault back to full health and Stanford’s poor secondary, there will be plenty of yards after the catch available. There is no reason why each squad should not score at least 30 points in this matchup.
|Stanford Defensive Yards Allowed||Colorado Defensive Yards Allowed|
|52.3% 95th Overall||56.6% 117th Overall|
The Pick: Over 55.5 (-105).
UAB vs. Southern Miss (-7, 50) Nov 9, 3:30 p.m. EST
UAB has glaring advantages in the passing game on both sides of the ball. There is an undisclosed injury to UAB starting QB, Tyler Johnston III, but it does not seem significant and shouldn’t be an issue with Southern Miss allowing 6.2 yards per play.
Southern Miss relies on the passing attack to generate all of its offense, 73 percent of their total yards per game. That could be a significant problem for the Golden Eagles on Saturday. First, the Blazers have a top-10 pass defense in yards allowed per game. Second, Southern Miss struggles to protect the quarterback in passing downs and UAB generates pressure without blitzing. The Blazers sack the quarterback on 14 percent of passing down plays (Passing Down Sack Rate). Expect the Golden Eagles to be out of rhythm with this pass rush. If they attempt the rush the ball, it will be against the 5th overall stuff rate defense. This Blazers defense has all the tools to be a nightmare.
|UAB Defensive Passing Down Sack Rate||Southern Miss Offensive Passing Down Sack Rate|
|13.8% – 10th Overall||7% – 61th Overall|
The Pick: UAB +7 (-105). My model has Southern Miss as 1.5 point favorites.
App St. vs. South Carolina (-6, 51) Nov 9, 7:00 p.m. EST
App St. is coming off of a loss but it was to a triple option team in a storm. This sets up for a buy low opportunity. Even in South Carolina’s upset win over Georgia, their offense lacks consistency. They find themselves in third down and medium to long too frequently due to their lack of a deep threat. Teams can load the box to stop the run and pass attempts less than the first down marker. As a result, the Gamecocks convert only 34 percent of third downs which ranks 107th overall in first down rate. This plays into the hands of App St., who holds opponents to a 30 percent third down conversion rate. Over the last three games, they are the best in the nation in this facet by holding opponents to 19 percent.
App St. has proven time and time again they can hang with the Power 5 Conferences. They have won against UNC earlier this season who beat South Carolina, for what it’s worth. They should have no problem staying within a touchdown. Their offense is averaging 6 yards per play and South Carolina will be without lead back Tavien Feaster.
|App St. Defensive First Down Rate||South Carolina Offensive First Down Rate|
|55.3% 4th Overall||65.3% 107th Overall|
The Pick: App St. +6.5 (-115). Bought the half point and my model has App St. as only 3.5 point dogs.
Missouri vs. Georgia (-16.5, 48.5) Nov 9, 7 p.m. EST
Mizzou has been a mess offensively on the road while Georgia may want to have an easy Saturday night after a down to the wire affair last week. The Dawgs have Auburn on deck as well. Expect the defense to set the tone early.
The Tigers enjoy home cooking and are a lesser feline on the road. While only averaging one yard less per play, they are scoring 21 less points! Georgia boasts the 4th best defense in SP+ and they are tiers above previous road opponents for Mizzou. They have managed a measly 21 points total at Kentucky and Vanderbilt. Luckily, the defense has traveled for the Tigers. SP+ ranks the Tigers as 14th overall. Both excel at limiting the available yards for opposing teams holding them to less than a third of the possible yards.
Look for Georgia to pound the rock and not overdue anything to keep the clock rolling. This sets up for a 28-10 win for the Dawgs.
|Mizzou Defensive Yards Allowed||Georgia Defensive Yards Allowed|
|32.6% 8th Overall||31.6% 5th Overall|
The Pick: Under 49 (-115). Bought the half point.
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